The night before last, in the wee hours of the morning, I half awoke from a sound sleep with a story idea. I don’t know if it came to me in a dream or if it was just waiting for conscious recognition, but I do know that it was a good idea. And when I say story, I don’t necessarily mean a narrative of some sort… it could have been commentary, or analysis, or introspection, or any number of other kinds of literary ventures. I don’t know which this one was because, like so many other times, I didn’t act on it.
I didn’t want to get up and jot the idea down; that’s all it would have taken. Ideas come to me, often out of the clear blue, frequently. Since during my waking hours I am usually around at least a writing utensil and paper (and usually a keyboard), I will make note of it. Usually just the act of jotting it down commits it to memory and I’ll write something within the next day or so. However and unfortunately, many ideas escape me because I persist in believing that I wouldn’t forget such a good idea.
I fully intended to write about whatever it was I came up with later on that same morning. Although I might have remembered it then, for whatever reason I didn’t get to the computer. When I finally did, the idea evaporated. Besides, I had other priorities to tend to. It might come back to me - they sometimes do and I’ll say to myself, “Oh, yes!” and I won’t let it slip away twice. But there are others that are so completely forgotten that even if it did come back to me, I wouldn’t recognize it as that long lost idea… I might not even recognize it as a good one.
I bring this up now not only because of yet another lost idea, but because of a found one. I am actually writing this because I don’t want to write my term paper right now. Don’t worry, I will and it will be fine - I just need to let the pressure build a little bit more. But I still felt compelled to write something and I was sitting here wishing I still had that idea. After writing three paragraphs only to delete them, I started combing through my MS Word files looking for some unfinished essay. I didn’t find one.
But I did find a story idea I had in the middle of the night some months ago that I had totally forgotten about. It’s just one sentence about a fictional piece that could go somewhere. I happened to put it in the computer so I wouldn’t lose it - and it worked. It’s not something I feel like taking on at the moment, but it did reawaken a story idea that would have been lost were it not for those 11 words written back in February and saved under the file name, “story idea.doc.” It could be nothing, it could be a novel, but it won’t be forgotten.